A medical malpractice lawsuit in United States can be initiated by filing a complaint, accusation, or summons; these legal instruments are known as the pleadings. Complaint sets forth the legal claims of the defendant medical doctor with a claim for medical negligence. A summons is issued to a defendant, and it provides notice that a person (the plaintiff) has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. The plaintiff must therefore appear in court to commence the medical negligence lawsuit. See more here...
A medical malpractice lawsuit occurs when the plaintiff, the injured patient, brings legal action against the medical practitioner for the wrongful act, omission, neglect or malice. The plaintiff must establish that there has been a breach of duty on behalf of the doctor, and that this breach proximately caused injury to the patient. Compensation may also be sought through the damages recovered from the negligent act, which may include loss of wages, medical expenses and physical impairment, punitive damages, etc. The doctor at fault may be liable for other acts that proximately cause injury, even if they are not aware of such acts.
Most medical malpractice lawsuit arises out of wrongful acts or negligent actions on the part of a health care professional. While most doctors have comprehensive policies in place to mitigate any liability for negligence claims, many do not. Such physicians resort to medical records concealment to avoid having to compensate plaintiffs. This is why, in the large majority of cases, medical records are almost never discovered until after a lawsuit is filed. It is the duty of the attorney handling a case to discover and present all relevant facts of the case in an aggressive manner to assist the plaintiff in receiving reasonable compensation.
In addition to providing the plaintiff with the opportunity to obtain damages for the negligence, attorney malpractice also requires that the defendant show a duty of care. This means the duty of care must have been in existence and reasonable steps taken to prevent the breach of it. In the event of a breach, the duty of care is established and if it was breached, the plaintiff may recover damages for the breach of it. The attorney must establish both the duty of care and the breach of it in order for a case to succeed.
It is not sufficient for a medical malpractice claim to prove that a physician was at fault. The attorney must prove that the injury was the direct result of negligence on the part of the physician. In doing so, the plaintiff must produce medical records that support their story. In the event that such records are in the possession of another third party, such as a defense attorney, they must be produced before the court. Additionally, physicians are required by law to warn patients about the risks of certain medical treatments.
When a medical malpractice claim is brought against a doctor or hospital, it is up to the trier of fact to determine whether the doctor actually violated a duty of care. In all but the most minor of cases, a defendant is required by law to promptly present its side of the story before the jury can decide the case. Most often, defendants try to avoid these trials. For this reason, courts in these jurisdictions usually require a witness or expert to opine in the cases of medical malpractice. If the testimony cannot be produced within a reasonable time frame, a plaintiff is entitled to an expert's opinion. In some cases, if the doctor can prove that a medical condition was not the direct cause of the medical malpractice, the plaintiff is not entitled to compensation.
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